There are certain leadership "truths" I've hammered down on many of my articles for intentional reasons. They are concepts and beliefs that, by my book, should be non-negotiables if you are seriously committed to growing as a leader.

For example, leading an organization is still mostly about people. And if that's undeniable truth (and it is), another truth becomes pretty obvious: a leader's most important asset is people skills, and without people skills, you simply cannot be a good leader. Do you agree?

And as with any good leader, if you're going to master people skills, you have to understand human nature, and possess the emotional intelligence to "get" how people are naturally wired--what motivates and inspires them, what causes them to behave, respond, or react in certain ways that will either benefit or hurt your team.

What Should Your Managers Know About Their People?

Allow me to give you that perspective in hopes of increasing your understanding of people.

1. People will go through periods of insecurity.

Especially as they start a new role or job, therefore, managers need to give them confidence and build them up through encouragement, praise, and positive affirmation.

2. People like to feel special.

"I don't like to be recognized," said no human being, ever. Managers have to get into the habit of complimenting their people, and doing it sincerely. Look for good qualities and strengths in people. Here's the thing: The highest compliment an employee can receive is one given to them by their manager. The more specific the better because it helps them to grow.

3. People look for safety and a better tomorrow.

Show them hope. Assure them of their career path. Ask for their interests and goals. Everyone lives for something better to come. Give them that hope by speaking to their needs.

4. People need to be understood.

In Gallup research, this is the fifth most common mistake that leads to turnover--when managers fail to listen and understand their people. When a manager doesn't solicit the opinions of others, especially during change because change is often scary, trust begins to erode and morale goes in the tank. So listen to them - their dreams, passions, fears, joys, goals and aspirations. I don't mean "hear them out." I mean real, receptive, nonjudgmental listening.

5. People want to win.

Help them succeed by developing them, giving them high freedom, and a place where they are not afraid to experiment and fail on their way to winning.

6. People are wired for meaningful relationships.

Bosses need to build community by enhancing relationships and relating well to others; by promoting a sense of belonging and connection for all team members; by working collaboratively, emphasizing teamwork; and by valuing the differences and differing points-of-view of others.

7. People want to feel valued.

Believe and trust in your people by maintaining a high view of them. Show them the respect and dignity they deserve to do a good job.

8. People want to be led.

Provide them with competent leadership by envisioning the future, understanding what it takes to get to the vision, clarifying goals and expectations, taking initiative and moving out ahead.

9. People want their managers to be real with them.

Display authenticity, be transparent, exercise good self-awareness (understanding yourself and others), be open to input from others, even those below you, and maintain integrity, honesty, consistency, and ethical behavior.

10. People will respect leaders who are humble and can admit being wrong.

Ever work with a manager who's always right? He has a hard time taking blame or ownership for things and will never admit to having made a mistake. When a manager stops getting the last word and lets others give input to important initiatives, this is a game changer.

Published on: Dec 20, 2016
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